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18 Jan 2018

Funeral Rights Of Nigeria's Dead Ex-Vice President Begins Tomorrow

The final funeral rites for former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme begins on Friday in Lagos.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who chairs the National Burial Committee, said this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.

Mustapha who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige, spoke with journalists at the end of the last meeting of the committee.

He said the almost a month-long burial programme would start on Friday with a memorial service to be held at the Cathedral Church of Christ Marina, Lagos at 2pm and an Evening of Tributes and Music slated for 5pm.

The highlight of the activities that will hold in London, Abuja, Enugu and Awka, according to him, will be the funeral service that will hold at St. John the Divine Church, Oko, Anambra State on February 2.

He said the outing service which will be the last programme for the final rites would hold in the same church on February 11.

Ngige said it was the desire of the Federal Government to ensure that the late elder statesman gets a befitting burial.

He said, “The death of Alex Ekwueme is indeed a painful loss, not only to his family but to our great nation Nigeria.

“His life was dedicated to the service of our beloved country Nigeria.

“And as the military tribunal panel stated after he and other leaders were detained as a result of the Nigerian military coup d’etat that sacked the civilian government of December 31, 1983, that ‘Dr. Ekwueme had left politics much poorer than he was when he entered it,’ and has also stated that to ask for more from him was to set a standard in Public life which even saints could not meet.”

He assured all stakeholders that the Federal Government and governments of the South East states would be fully involved in the ceremony.

“As we mourn his painful demise with utmost sympathy to the bereaved family, let me also use this medium to assure you that the federal and south-east governments will be adequately represented at the final funeral rites.

“We also urge all individuals and professional groups whose lives and interests were touched in one way or the other by our departed statesman, to be part of the burial ceremonies, as we pay Late Dr. Alex Ekwueme our last respects,” he said.

Other programmes for the burial as released by the burial committee include a memorial service to be held at St. Marylebone Parish Church, London, W1 on Saturday; another Evening of Tributes scheduled to hold on January 28 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja; and a Parade of Honour on January 29at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The body will then depart immediately to Enugu and will be received by the South East Governors at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

On January 30, there will be Service of Songs at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Independence Layout, Enugu while the South East Zone Commendation Ceremonies will hold at Okpara Square on January 31.

On February 1, the body departs for Akwa on while the Anambra State Commendation service will hold at the Ekwueme Square, Awka the same day.

The body will later in the day depart for Oko where another Service of Songs is scheduled to hold.

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